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Surveillance of HIV-infection among injecting drug users in The Netherlands: results Amsterdam 1998

Surveillance van HIV-infectie onder injecterende druggebruikers in Nederland: meting Amsterdam 1998

Synopsis

To determine the prevalence of HIV and the level of injecting and sexual risk behaviour among injecting drug users (IDU) in Amsterdam (The Netherlands). To compare the results with a previous survey in Amsterdam carried out in 1996. To evaluate the risk of further spread of HIV from IDU in Amsterdam to non-IDU and to the general population. Between June 2 and August 18 1998, a saliva specimen and a questionnaire on risk behaviour were obtained from 202 IDU in Amsterdam. Participation was on a voluntary basis and anonymous. Participants were recruited in the street (76%) and at the premises of a low-threshold daytime care project (24%). Of the 197 IDU, 51 persons were found to be infected with HIV (prevalence 25.9%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 19.8 - 32.0). The seroprevalence was not significantly different from the previous survey in 1996 (25.5%, 95% CI 19.7-32.3). 24 (12%) out of 197 IDU shared syringes or needles in the last 6 months (1996: 18%). These percentages seem to be similar in the other cities in our surveillance studies. Of HIV-positive IDU one (2%) borrowed used syringes or needles in the last 6 months. Condom use was very low during sexual contact between steady partners; this was found consistently for the total group and HIV-positive IDU. 31% of the IDU have a non-drug user as a steady sexual partner. There are indications for limited but ongoing HIV transmission in this group. In spite of several prevention programmes, residual injecting and sexual risk behaviour continues. Specific research is needed on how to further improve effectiveness of prevention programmes.
 

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